Friday, November 13, 2015


"...other people have rights tooChristakis misses the point entirely. His voice makes me cringe; his response predicated on the people he's defending being as earnest and well-meaning as he is and somehow only misunderstood.  He's a library nerd defending frat boys, but he can't bring himself to think of them that way. A defense of free speech begins as the defense of schmucks.

The girl yelling at him has the anger of a campus anti-porn campaigner in 1985. It's the anger of someone fully vested in the system, already a member of the elite, demanding and still struggling for full equality within  it.  It's the anger of a moralizing bourgeois reformer of her own class. They deserve each other. That in itself is a sign of progress.

The video above via Leiter, who draws sharp distinction between protests at Yale and in Missouri. The people he links to don't.


Conor Friedersdorf calls it "weaponizing safe space". Maybe it is. But shoving a camera in the face of someone in tears does not become a moral act if the scene is played out in public, and the government did not stop them from publishing the record of the exchange. The student journalists could just as well interviewed the protestors standing in front of them as opposed to those being protected, and photographed the group from a distance. As it is they defend cheap voyeurism as enlightened "objectivity". As with Christakis, both of them, the condescension is offensive, the lecturing by those who identify unthinkingly with power.

Cobb:  Race and the free speech diversion
Friedrichsdorff: Free speech is no diversion.
Dialogue as Diversion. About Israel and BDS. Neither Friedersdorf nor Cobb would make the connection.

Politics is not an idea; and people who think the principle of free speech is founded in idealism miss the point, which is why so many oppose it as misguided idealism and not principled conservatism.
Idealists divide speech into the important and unimportant, the "high-value" and "low value", the "propositional" and the merely expressive. Those who proclaim "the harm of hate speech", including Leiter, would never see condescension or contempt as actionable. They proclaim the existence of a line where none exists.
BOSTON (AP) — It's not always the slurs and the other out-and-out acts of racism. It's the casual, everyday slights and insensitivities.

Sheryce Holloway is tired of white people at Virginia Commonwealth University asking if they can touch her hair or if she knows the latest dance move. At Chicago's Loyola University, Dominick Hall says groups of white guys stop talking when he walks by, and people grip their bags a little tighter. And Katiana Roc says a white student a few seats away from her at West Virginia University got up and moved to the other side of the classroom.

As thousands of students took part in walkouts and rallies on college campuses across the country Thursday in a show of solidarity with protesters at the University of Missouri, many young black people spoke of a subtle and pervasive brand of racism that doesn't make headlines but can nevertheless have a corrosive effect.

There's even a word on campuses for that kind of low-grade insensitivity toward minorities: microaggression.
The logic of hate speech laws results in authoritarian micropolicing. But for the powerful to ignore the corrosive effect on others of lives lived under constant low-level aggression appears to those others as itself a form of low-level aggression.  Claims to "objectivity" are seen as expressions of contempt.
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The obvious parallel to the protective circle around the protestors in Missouri.
On Friday, the holy day for Islam, Christian protesters in Tahrir Square joined hands to form a protective cordon around their Muslim countrymen so they could pray in safety.
Sunday, the Muslims returned the favor.
more above.

Also the kid with the video camera is autistic, and a racist.
Autism as contemporary intellectual model. That's a bingo.

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